Pop quiz, folks: does this trailer...
- brutalize anything we've seen of "Conan"?
- destroy anything we've seen of "Conan"?
- annihilate anything we've seen of "Conan"?
- obliterate anything we've seen of "Conan"?
- defenestrate anything we've seen of "Conan"?
We even see a tiny glimpse of Khal Momo (whose overall look I'm still not sold on as not being Mongolian-enough), as well as the delightful addition of
This latest trailer isn't quite as good, in fact it looks awfully Jacksonville Lord of the Rings, mixed with a little Dexter for good measure. Still, excellent production values for a TV series, and most people love Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Dexter.
Unfortunately, as was painfully obvious, we're now starting to get the usual fools out of the woodwork. There are those who think Martin's doing something profoundly paradigm-shifting, that he's doing something truly tremendous and unusual that's never been done in fantasy before, such as Pop Culture Ninja:
Martin’s swashbuckling adventures rife with political intrigue, dark portents, and fascinating characters aren’t quite your average genre fare.
Oh, of course, can't think of any other fantasy series with political intrigue, dark portents, or fascinating characters. Nope, none at all.
Worse than that are those who think that if it isn't a strict copy of the stereotypical view of Middle-earth (itself far from the real McCoy) it "isn't really fantasy." Such as The Dartmouth:
Showrunner David Benioff has called called the show “‘The Sopranos’ in Middle Earth.” But even though the series takes place in a fantasy world with its own geography, nations and languages — much like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth — don’t expect any magic, elves or orcs. Assuming “Game of Thrones” stays true to its source, it will be a series about humanity at its worst — more “Braveheart” than “Lord of the Rings.”
In the name of... what? "Don't expect any magic, elves or orcs" - you mean apart from, for example, the Others, described thusly:
According to legend, the Others are said to hate iron, fire, and sunlight and seek to kill all creatures that have warm blood in their veins. They ride dead horses into battle leading legions of the undead and also use pale white ice spiders the size of hounds as trackers. Thousands of years ago they nearly overwhelmed Westeros in an invasion before being defeated in an unknown manner.
"Oh, but the Others might not strictly count as elves!" - lest we forget there are mythical beings like the Children of the Forest in A Game of Thrones?
The children were small, dark and beautiful. They wore clothes of leaves and bark and wielded weirwood bows and swords and arrow-heads made of dragonglass. Their wise men were called greenseers, and they carved faces into the weirwoods to keep watch over the forest. Their gods were the nameless gods of nature that are now called the Old Gods. They are the oldest known inhabitants of Westeros. When the First Men came over the Arm of Dorne and began to settle the land, they chopped down the weirwoods, which led to open war. The children used magic to shatter the Arm, but they could not prevail against the invaders. Finally, the two peoples came to a peace agreement in a meeting on the Isle of Faces in which the children retained the forests and the First Men agreed to halt the cutting down of weirwoods. This peace lasted for four thousand years until the Andals came and began chopping down the trees again. Under persecution, the children retreated to the Far North, where some claim they still live today.
And as for the horrific shambling hordes of the forces of darkness, how about the undead?
A wight has black hands, bright burning blue eyes, and a scent like a grave. They are relentless in their pursuit of killing, and cannot be killed save by burning. They keep moving even if they have lost limbs or been split nearly in two, and any parts hacked off continue to function on their own as well. No animal will come near one.
And giants? And black-and-white striped tigers? And wolves the size of ponies? And freaking dragons!?! How else can one explain what happens to Daenerys, but some sort of sorcery? As for "humanity at its worst," how can one forget the incredible pathos of Denethor, the poor deceived Southrons, the treacherous Saruman, and the unforgettable Gollum? Really, there aren't many less magic, fantastical creatures or non-human races in Westeros than there are in the already magic-deprived Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age.
Even worse, some of the cast members are saying the same sort of thing:
Michelle Fairley (far right), who plays Catelyn Stark, says of the epic series, ''It's not so much fantasy. It's really gutsy and glorious. We just happen to be wearing costumes and armor.''
So fantasy isn't normally gutsy and glorious? One wonders if Ms Fairley doesn't consider Macbeth or The Tempest to be "gutsy and glorious," unless she thinks they aren't fantasy either. Actually, I don't want to know.
But then again, I've come across people who say Tolkien - yes, Tolkien - isn't really fantasy. I'm not kidding. They usually use terms like "mythologized history," "fictionalized mythology" or some such. Heck, I even come across people who think Conan the Barbarian isn't really a fantasy film, despite all the freaking magic. If Conan and Middle-earth aren't really fantasy to some people, then... I can't think of a way to finish that sentence.
Of course, there are those who say Martin's work is more grounded in "realism" than Tolkien's Middle-earth. Well, let's not get into that can of worms, suffice to say that a world which experiences decade-long winters would "realistically" result in a culture very different from a feudal Medieval society. Not to mention the 700-foot tall, 300 league long wall of ice blocking off the